US, Japan vaccine donations seen to boost PH’s mass inoculation drive

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More than 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be donated by the United States while Japan will send more than one million doses, which could prop up the country’s mass immunization drive as well as address distribution disparity.

In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting on government’s COVID-19 interventions on Tuesday, Food and Drug Administration Chief Rolando Enrique Domingo said the FDA has already issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Department of Health (DOH) to accept possible donations of Janssen vaccines from the US, and AstraZeneca doses from Japan.

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is uniquely known for being a single-dose coronavirus vaccine unlike most vaccines that require two separate doses, said Domingo.

The US will donate this month more than 3 million Janssen doses through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility.

Japan on the other hand, will ship more than one million doses of AstraZeneca jabs, the second most widely used vaccine in the Philippines.

The FDA chief also expressed optimism to begin pediatric vaccination in the country, noting that Pfizer now has the EUA to inoculate children aged 12 years old and above.

Apart from Pfizer, Domingo said China’s Sinovac has also applied for an amendment of their EUA to include children aged three to 17 years old.

The FDA is continuously negotiating with various vaccine manufacturers to add more sources where the Philippines can purchase COVID-19 jabs, said Domingo, citing Novavax and China’s Minhai Biological Technology as new prospective vaccine sources.

Meanwhile, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who was also present in the meeting, said the Philippines has already breached the 12 million mark of administered jabs as a result of the country’s aggressive vaccination campaign.

“This is the first week that we have 2 million that we have reported for this week… Nagpapatunay ito na tumataas na rin ang kapasidad ng ating local government units at saka ‘yong sa ating mga probinsiya,” said Galvez.

Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said the country is set to receive this July 16 million coronavirus vaccine doses through a government and private sector procurement tie up as well as from donations.

Around 14 million COVID-19 jabs will also be delivered to the country by the end of August, he said.

The country has so far vaccinated 1.6 million health workers and 119,770 of their family members, 2.5 million senior citizens, 3 million individuals with comorbidities, 1.4 million economic frontliners, and 272, 036 indigents.

Press Release from PND

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